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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Cancer charity accounts frozen
Woman being scanned for breast cancer
The charity promised to offer relief to sufferers
The bank accounts of a Scottish breast cancer charity have been frozen after a judge heard that only a small amount of the money it raised went on good causes.

Lord Drummond Young has also ordered that Breast Cancer Research (Scotland) should be banned from representing itself as a charity.

It was claimed at the Court of Session on Friday that only 1.5m of the 13.2m it raised went to good causes.

The judge also suspended the charity's trustees and ordered that its professional fundraiser, Tony Freeman, should not be involved in the management or control of the charity.

The court was told that the Charities Office believed there had been "misconduct or mismanagement" in the administration of the organisation.

Charitable causes

The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, told the court the charity had raised 8.8m in income up to March last year and another 4.4m in the subsequent 12 months.

But only 11.6% of the cash had been donated to charitable causes.

The court also heard that Mr Freeman had been paid about 60% of the total income raised by way of commission.

Lord Drummond Young said: "It does seem to me this is a serious case."

The Lord Advocate claimed that the charity had been used as a vehicle by Mr Freeman and his company Solutions RMC to collect money and charge commission.

Lottery tickets

Breast Cancer Research (Scotland) - which had at least eight bank accounts - was granted charitable status in May 1996 and had the declared aims of providing treatment and relief to sufferers and promoting research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer.

Its head office is in Seedhill, Paisley, and its current trustees are John Cooper and Anne McGill from Ayrshire and Anthony Levinson from Salford near Manchester.

Mr Freeman, from Glasgow, had worked for the charity since 1997 and had raised money by selling lottery tickets to members of the public throughout Britain.

Under an initial commission agreement his trading company was entitled to more than half the funds also raised from charity box collections and stalls.

The Lord Advocate said that at the time the commission agreement was reached in February 2001 the trustees, Mr Cooper, Mrs McGill and a third man Stuart Mackie, from Bothwell, in Lanarkshire, were employees of Solutions RMC.

It does seem to me this is a serious case
Lord Drummond Young

The court was told that an English-based charity, Breast Cancer Relief, has been investigated by charity commissioners in England and had its bank accounts frozen.

Lord Drummond Young also ruled that a chartered accountant should be brought in to look after the affairs of the charity in the interim.

The court move is believed to follow a lengthy investigation by the Scottish charities office.

A spokesperson for Solutions RMC said: "We are taking advice following today's court hearing."

Last year Breast Cancer Research (Scotland) pledged 5m to Dundee University to pay a research team.

However, only 500,000 has been handed over.

The university said it was confident that any shortfall could be met through funding from other charities.

The BBC's Reeval Alderson
"The charity was used as a vehicle to collect money and charge commission"

Charities regulator calls renewed
23 May 03  |  Scotland

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